From ‘Bridesmaids’ to ‘Broad City,’ the 2010s saw a renaissance in women’s friendships in pop culture — these are just a few of the highlights.
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In US news and current events today, after the 2011 film 'Bridesmaids' became a smash hit, this decade experienced what some call ‘The Bridesmaids Effect’ - more women-led films with bigger budgets, and more writing opportunities.
This last decade, female friendships got record screen time, from cops to Catholic school girls to Essence festival.
Hate 'em or love 'em – we got women-centric storylines that didn’t focus solely on romance or marriage for once. Friends were out there, traveling, getting stoned, and paving their own paths in life.
So let’s take a look back at a renaissance decade for female friendship in pop culture.
In 2011, ‘Bridesmaids’ became a smash hit, earning both Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. The film starring Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, by some assessments, redefined the potential for R-Rated women’s ensemble comedy — which has a long, though scattered, history of success.
Some even call it ‘The Bridesmaid Effect,’ crediting the movie with paving the way for more women-led films to demand bigger budgets, more writing opportunities, or casting of lesser-known actors.
Pressure for diversity and inclusion mounted. Although #MeToo and #TimesUp exploded late in the decade, more women gradually took opportunities in director, producer, and writer roles.
For instance, older women got some much overdue portrayals beyond typecast roles as grandmothers, mothers-in-law, or divorcees. The Netflix comedy ‘Grace and Frankie’ portrayed a modern connection between two women over 65 whose husbands left them after coming out later in life. The series ‘Dead to Me’ darkly followed two friends, one a widow and the other learning to recover from grief.
And the end of the decade kept on giving. ‘Hustlers,’ starring Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez, was a delicious portrayal of the early 2000’s, from the style to the music. At its heart, it was a post-Recession fight for survival between two fast friends, and a rare, humane depiction of sex work that we don’t see enough.
The Bechdel test became more mainstream. In case you’re not familiar, a film or show passes the Bechdel test if two women characters talk with each other about something besides a man. Just once. It was first established in the 80s, but it’s become more mainstream.
In the 2010s, our most formative years also appeared on screen, with shows like ‘Pen15,’ ‘Euphoria,’ and ‘Booksmart’ opening up a nostalgic and contemporary window into life as a teenager.
The theme of women’s friendship spanned TV genres—even species— including Lisa Hanawalt’s animated series ‘Tuca and Bertie,’ about two 30-something bird women. They’re also roommates. And they endure the transition when one of the longtime friends moves out to live with a partner.
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